Diminishing resources and an over abundance of waste has been the beginning of inspiration and brain storming for designers around the globe. Making use of a bit of ingenuity can produce some dazzling results.
By using items that have already been designated for the landfill, or choosing materials that are easily able to regenerate without great cost to either production or the planet, there are a range of ways designers are making new items at home.
Unassuming and quietly growing wherever the conditions allow, the humble mushroom could be a natural solution to build and mold items into shape; after all they pretty much already are mold! Design team Ecovative Design have been working on ways to create packaging grown into shape, using mushrooms as the material, but taking this a step further they teamed up with designer Danielle Trofe to start creating home interior solutions using mushrooms.
These are some of the lighting items used, using MycoFoam grown into different lighting shapes. The material can be quite sturdy and shaped into different structures and designs.
2. Recycled Toilet Paper
By the time toilet paper has made its way through the sewage system, do you think that’s the end of the story? In the Netherlands, the Dutch Water Authorities have used begun using sieve barriers to recover raw materials from wastewater, including used toilet paper. Designer Nienke Hoogvliet has taken these raw materials and made bowls from them!
3. Pineapple Leather
Leather is used in so many fashion and home decor items, but the production of leather is intricately linked to the meat industry which has a heavy carbon footprint. Design studio Ananas Anam has begun working with different companies to make leather from pineapple fiber. Cutting down on waste, and totally applicable for those cushion covers, seating alternatives and options in the home.
From one fiber to another, Christien Meindertsma has begun winning awards for the design of this chair made from flax. Durable but able to break down in a way plastic chairs crumpling in landfills around the world just don’t. Its natural production means it could be used with food dyes in a rainbow of colors! Exciting idea, can’t wait to see more.
It looks like wood, but it’s a lie! Wood planks were cast in bronze for this chair series by Francesco Faccin. I like the idea that when you’re fed up of the design you can melt the bronze down and make another one.
6. Plastic Bottles
One of the things that we heard about in 2016 was the build up of plastic waste in the sea. The Gyro Table from Brodie Neill takes that plastic and turns it into a beautiful seascape coffee table. Super easy application that could work well in many other contexts.
7. Plastic Hangers
Hong Kong based design studio KaCaMa aims to make social enterprise and deal with waste at the same time. Such as this table using coat hangers, an excellent way to refurbish old junk. But there are other ideas they’re brewing up, too.
Using old paper advertisements and leaflets, they have made some stunning lighting designs. Another bright idea is this egg shell candle collection.
8. Paper Bricks
Recycled paper can be transformed in a myriad of ways, working as insulation or to rebuild new structures. Woo Jai Lee turns it into sturdy brick shape items to use as tables and chairs.
9. Pine Needles
Much like the flax and pineapple items, Tamara Orjala has taken pine needles for her creation. Pine needles are so commonplace in certain habitats that it would be a great way for local communities to put these items together.
10. Old Clothes
An ingenious take on textiles! Thislexic have used old clothes for their home decor and furniture creations. Showing that there are just so many ways to recycle and use unexpected items in design. It feels a bit like they’re going to come to life!
With so many different methods and increasing technology in design and production, we can start to use our imagination for recycling and using different items.
What would you make your crazy couch out of? Let us know your ideas for different materials used in unusual ways.